Published online Jan 28, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.563
Revised: November 8, 2007
Published online: January 28, 2008
AIM: To investigate the role of artificial neural networks in predicting the presence of thyroid disease in atrophic body gastritis patients.
METHODS: A dataset of 29 input variables of 253 atrophic body gastritis patients was applied to artificial neural networks (ANNs) using a data optimisation procedure (standard ANNs, T&T-IS protocol, TWIST protocol). The target variable was the presence of thyroid disease.
RESULTS: Standard ANNs obtained a mean accuracy of 64.4% with a sensitivity of 69% and a specificity of 59.8% in recognizing atrophic body gastritis patients with thyroid disease. The optimization procedures (T&T-IS and TWIST protocol) improved the performance of the recognition task yielding a mean accuracy, sensitivity and specificity of 74.7% and 75.8%, 78.8% and 81.8%, and 70.5% and 69.9%, respectively. The increase of sensitivity of the TWIST protocol was statistically significant compared to T&T-IS.
CONCLUSION: This study suggests that artificial neural networks may be taken into consideration as a potential clinical decision-support tool for identifying ABG patients at risk for harbouring an unknown thyroid disease and thus requiring diagnostic work-up of their thyroid status.